Milltek Tom Onslow-Cole Race Report. Round 3: Thruxton
TOC: Well.. that can only be described as a very difficult weekend, really! The conditions were truly terrible for most of our time on track and I can only really describe it as akin to being strapped to a mechanical bull! The RWD set-up of the Ebay Motors BMW is stunning in the dry, but it can be a real handful in standing water. Whereas the FWD cars can power through any little squirms and shakes as aquaplaning starts, we have to back off to get the car in line. All those little lifts really start to add up around each lap and cost precious time.
Qualifying looked great to begin with. At the beginning, it was a dry session, so we took the opportunity to run the car on slicks for the first time. We had technical issues with one of the hubs during practise, meaning that it was literally the first time that I had driven the car on that set-up, but it felt great straight away, and I concentrated on getting a few solid laps in. With a few tweeks throughout the session, we posted 10th on the grid for the first race.
Race One was the start of what was to be rather a lot of wet racing! I got a pretty decent start and was happily working my way through the ranks as the rain was getting heavier and heavier. It was quite a fight, so when the race was red-flagged after 14 laps, with me at 8th.. I was happy enough at that!!
Race Two was in a similarly damp vain.. With so much standing water on the track at this time, visibility was proving to be the biggest issue. You literally couldn’t see the rain lights of the car that was six inches in front of you. It also meant that you couldn’t see the puddles, either, which meant for ‘interesting’ progress around certain parts of the circuit. I made a good start in this race, but was suffering a little bit with tyre performance towards the end, which meant I had to settle for 13th in the end.
Race Three was a little better. It was still wet, but made a useful start and just plugged away throughout, to end up in 10th. I was quite relieved to get out of the car at the end of it all, to be honest! It was quite a weekend.
We’ve got quite a lot to examine after this round. Things we could have done differently, what I could have done as a driver… The team have created a superb wet weather set-up, so I can’t really fault them in any way, but we need to look at tyre life, and seeing how we can get our ‘little’ 17s to last as well as the 18s on the NGTC cars. A few more testing sessions needed, I think!
Catch Tom and his Ebay Motors BMW in action in the next round at Oulton Park on the 9th and 10th of June.